Thursday, March 10, 2011

FB Fan Appreciation Giveaway!

100+ fans of Kameli Shae! Yay! This seems like a cause for a celebration! What better way to celebrate than a GIVEAWAY!
I have to admit that production has been a little slow since the addition of Angelface#3 in January, but my creative wheels are forever turning. And I've been sneaking into my laboratory between naptimes, snacktimes and lesson times, so new items are a coming. Please be patient and check and or the FB Fanpage often. Did you ask: When do I sleep? I apoloqize, but I don't speak that language. Anyways...
If you would like to win this Gift Cheque to use toward your next purchase in my boutique here are the details:

- You must be a Facebook Fan (give us a "Like"):
- Leave a comment
on this blog post stating your best bit of advice for Kameli Shae's success and/or sustainability for the future. 
- Want to increase your chances? Refer a friend to participate, as well. Make sure the friend states that you referred them, though. will be used to choose a winner from the comments on Sunday, March 13th. - The winner will be announced on the Facebook Fan Page and here on the blog. A copy of this certificate, details for use and other pertinent info will be emailed to the winner, as well. Good luck and many thanks for being a Fan, a Follower and most importantly an Inspiration!
Although this contest is closed, you may still give us a "LIKE" on Facebook. many thanks... 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wisdom's Work.... Spicy Handmade Accessories!

I happened upon this Jewelry Artist very soon after joining the Group titled Etsy Artists of Color. Not only are the posts on her blog and Facebook Page sassy and witty, but that same attitude and exuberance seems to exude ever so vibrantly throughout her pieces. The title of this post was taken from her very own words and there really is no other way to explain her line of jewelry and accessories. Her items are very affordable, but, moreso, they are rather unique. Her design aesthetic reads: "Because a woman of pure beauty deserves the accessories to match." You should find this interview quite interesting:
Burgundy Coiled Earrings and Ring Set
Bold Peridot and Purple Coiled Earrings and Ring Set
+1 ::: When did you first realize that you were an artist? Actually all my life. I have been heavily into arts & crafts for as long as I can remember.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your pieces? My jewelry/accessories are definitely an extension of my creativity. My pieces are a mixture of my love for culture, color and texture. When I sit down to work, I never know what the end result will be and that's exciting.

+3 ::: What has influenced your work the most and how? My love of colors and creativity continue to push me to design outside of the box. This allows me to constantly raise the bar for myself and challenge my way of thinking everyday.

+4 ::: What other interests do you have? Oh wow, I could be listing things all! I can only best describe it as an interest/passion for ALL things creative. I enjoy any and everything that allows me to express that, whether it's party planning/decorating, interior designing or craft projects.

+5 ::: What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio? I take inspiration from everywhere. If I see a pair of boots I love, I may create jewelry based on them. Fashion is a huge motivator b/c jewelry is a huge part of it. Everything doesn't always turn out the way I would like (even if it was perfect in my head and on paper) BUT some of my best work started as an unplanned misstep. Plus, I usually keep the ones that I don't like enough to sell so my jewelry supply benefits alot : ) I also ask God to guide my hands before I begin creating anything.

+6 ::: How do you think you have handled the business side of being an artist? I had to definitely learn to treat my craft as a business. It was very hard to define what I love doing, as an actual business. I actually wrote a blog post on this subject (Business VS Pleasure: What to Do When What you Do is BOTH! at

+7::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting a business? Research research and just when you think you are done, research some more. In business it is very important to stay on top of the game. Never get too comfortable in what you are doing because someone else is waiting in the shadows with fresh new ideas, ready to take your spotlight. Also, don't be afraid to throw caution to the wind. Take that passion and "Make it do what it do!" : )

Please continue to follow this Jewelry Designer's success. She, also, makes additions to her shop quite frequently. Keep up with her in the following ways:

- Facebook: Wisdom's Work by Donielle Michele

- Twitter: WisdomsWork

- Blog:

What is Beauty? An Artist Attempts To Define...

Hey Fellow Designers & Indie Shop Owners! I have a section of my blog where I am featuring other artists. I love admiring your interpretation of your art form. For instance, it's so intriguing that I and a few crafters in my circle love African Textiles, but the way we each decide to transform the fabric seems to be unique per our personality, skill level, artistic eye, etc. I've even found that introducing myself to other artists and their work has enhanced my own ideas and aesthetics. If you'd like to be included it's FREE and you get a permanent link to your site.  Not everyone will be picked and there are some qualifications:

Cohesive Shop                     
Fair - Good Pictures
Uniqueness of Ideas and/or Designs

So, if you're interested in participating please respond to this thread. I will let you know if you have
been picked. To view previous posts on various topics please check out the entire blog.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions for the Indie Business Owner

Is your House in order? As in your small business that designs, makes, and sells fashionable clothing and/or accessories.
Hopefully, as a small business owner you're still patting yourself on the back. I can count on my fingers and toes how many people I personally know that are only dreaming about what we've managed to achieve. When asked about my decision to start my own company I excitedly share how after only a few years of contemplation and many more hits and misses did I decide just how serious I wanted to take on this endeavor. I'm constantly reminded of how I, along with close friends and family, are proud and supportive of my journey. It was not easy walking away from a salaried position that offered benefits, vacation pay, a 401k plan, etc. Some days I still ponder the many items on my "What If" list and there's no telling if and when or why, for that matter, I will return to those days. Now that I've begun this investment, I'm putting up a constant fight to progressively maintain what I have. This, by no means, is an easy undertaking. I've developed more game plans than when I decided to earn my Master's Degree or take on motherhood. Might I add that I quickly learned that game plans are not the absolute necessity for motherhood as they soon get abandoned; rather, a sense of humor, positive surroundings, and a loving husband and family have worked the most wonders. I've never had to be more organized in my life. Heck, I'm an artist I thrive on unorganization, but I've found that this has been a necessary element and addition to achieving success. I had a little help formulating this list. You can see all the details if you visit:
I promise to better manage my cash flow. All it takes is for my fabric wholesaler to send me an email about the latest fabric trends and my order is placed. There's one section of my workshop that my babies dare not go near for fear of a small avalanche. I, honestly, have way more supplies and gadgets than I know what to do with. Did you know that I have an embroidery machine that I sometimes toy with because I don't have time to fully understand its capabilities? So, promise to self: stop spending cash on the unnecessaries. I will try to nearly deplete the fabric and notions on hand before doing a major re-stocking. Also, I've learned to use the business bank account on business-related expenses, only. I was defeating the purpose of opening a business account. Keeping separate books really pays in the end. It's the best way to keep track of the books. Keeping all receipts have been a big help, as well.I promise to prepare a business budget at the beginning of every budgeting period, stick to it to the extent possible, and change it with thoughtfulness when need be. I learned this early on when I started taking trips out of town to go shopping for fabric. I started figuring out mileage, food, gas and travel time. I reluctantly started ordering fabric on the web (I still prefer feeling the "hand" of the textile before purchasing), but when ordering via the internet I pay close attention to shipping and handling fees. Because I have a fabric ecommerce I'm aware that shipping fabric is not cheap, but some companies go overboard possibly to make up for the taxes they can't charge out-of-state buyers. For 2011, I've even started researching local festivals and trade shows to figure into my budget. I haven't fully started following the lesson plans just yet. I started using coupons, discount codes and rewards programs. I've even made sure that every wholesaler or supplier has my Tax ID number on file. I've managed to stay within budget on several occassions just by not having to pay sales taxes on purchases. I promise to keep better tax records in the future. This one has become very important on my "to do" list. In fact, I'm currently preparing my business taxes to be filed by the end of this month. To my fellow small business owners research how important it is to file your business taxes. Did you know that it's just as important as filing your income taxes? So many privileges can be revoked for failure to comply with the rules of your state's Department of Revenue. The hardest lesson for me was remembering when my taxes should be filed (quarterly, monthly, yearly.) Fortunately, I now file yearly. Having to file yearly means that my deadline falls around my birth date; it's easy to remember that something else important needs to happen on or before that day. Keeping all receipts has been a big help with this, as well. I promise to keep better track of my inventory during 2010. Uhmmm... I will try my best to work on this one. I honestly can't tell you what is what in the fabric section of my workshop. If I can't see it, I don't remember it being there. And it's not like I haven't organized and re-organized the bins and shelves. I just can't keep track of it. Also, I've gotten in the habit of checking inventory before each new project. I started pulling out all needed notions before a pattern is cut; just to be sure that I have everything I need before I get started. I get easily distracted and because I won't be able to make it to the local fabric mart anytime soon, I don't need anything other than motherhood to make me postpone sewing on any given day. I promise to analyze my financial statements each accounting period and try to forecast the future for my companyThis will be the hardest. I imagine it to be even harder than having to forecast market and/or buying trends for the next year. I thrive on unpredictability and thought that I was doing okay by being inspired at a spur of the moment. I'm willing to try something new for the next year. I have been inching by with doing my own accounting, but I've seriously considered hiring a professional. I'm thinking that the outsider could catch some things that I've been overlooking.They would offer some advice on spending and bookkeeping habits, too The drawback is that that will be an added expense for the company.

I'd like to add that I am still a firm believer in flexibility. I can't get too bogged down with crunching numbers, watching tv for the latest fads or trying to do all of what I see others doing/making. I've got to still focus on what will be best for my company. I foresee that this will still mainly be a one-woman venture throughout the next year. Fortunately, my husband helps when he can with the business. He's been known to cut fabric, mail packages and definitely gives his opinion on whether an item looks nice or if it will sell. I can't try to take on or accomplish too much too soon for fear that I will quickly become overwhelmed... and there's clearly no time for a meltdown in 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

For Those of You Who Are Still Considering Starting a Home-based Business

I'm really happy about my decision to join a group called African Cultural Vendors. This is a network of African-descendant artisans. ACV is a venue and resource for artisans and craftspeople to network, offer feedback on shows, recommend shows or suppliers, anything an artisan needs.

The list began in 2007 as a central resource for artisans and craftspeople to locate festivals and events to exhibit their products. Unable to find a online resource designed for African-American artisans, the Yahoo group was created to assist vendors in locating conferences, fairs, festivals, and other events for their products. Although focused primarily for African American artisans and events, the list is all inclusive. All crafters are welcome. Currently, events are listed at the Yahoo group African Cultural Vendors. Please subscribe to the list at Please be advised that all requests for membership require approval.

The following list was compiled by a fellow member of ACV. I couldn't have said these things any better or clearer than Sha has and instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to share her ideas with the readers of my blog. In addition to reading the info below, please visit her site for more tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur. Check back soon as I will post my responses to her tips. I will use her ideas as a checklist for my progressive journey as a successful businesswoman in 2011.

5 Important Do Not’s for Entrepreneurs 2011 Success. By ShaChena Gibbs

Do not start a business for the wrong reason.

Most people start a business just because it sounds good or because the potential financial benefits look good. Start a business that you love. Something you are passionate about. Your business should be your baby, a talent or skill you already process.

Do not form a business without your Tribe.

Begin to let your friends and family know about your new business. Attend networking events and speak up. Give away your product for testimonies. You must build a following before you begin to profit.

Do not skip out on your legal provider.

Starting a business consist of a lot of paper work like forms and documents. The documents need to be reviewed by a lawyer. Even your products and services. Consumers can really be rude and sue you for various reasons. Having your legal team can help you to avoid these problems before they become reality.

Do not do it all by yourself.

At the beginning it can be a bit tough getting friends and family to understand what you are doing and have them believe in your passion. However, we suggest you find at least 2 friends to assist you, even if it’s just with making phone calls, running errands, checking emails, and/or packing and shipping. Entrepreneurs tend to get burnt out during the first 5 years of building on their dream.

Do not forget about ‘CUSTOMER SERVICE’.

Your customers are the core of your business growth. Without them, you will not make no money. You might as well close your doors. Poor customer service can ruin you. Word of mouth marketing spreads faster than any email you can send out and it’s most effective. One poor comment about your company service can spread like cancer. Train your staff paid and /or volunteer to treat your customers like royalty. And remember to practice what you preach.

Keep Rising,

ShaChena Gibbs
Small Business Educator
Real Sisters Rising, LLC

For over 10 years, Real Sisters Rising, LLC founder and CEO ShaChena Gibbs has owned or managed small businesses. Expert in her field, Ms. Gibbs personally and professionally guide her clients/members to reach higher heights to achieve major success in their business endeavors. ShaChena Gibbs is passionate about helping women globally become outstanding role models now for our youth later. Ms. Gibbs is definitely “Helping Women find the Diamond in their Destiny". She has been featured in the Daily News and many other publications.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tips to Motivate the Artist/Business Owner

"Men's best successes come after their disappointments."
- Henry Ward Beecher

I decided to share some tips that I’ve formulated for myself to help me figure out my direction and purpose in the next year and, hopefully, many years to come. I’ve shortened my long list as I found myself repeating some of the same statements or issues. If you have any to add, please feel free to do so in the comment box.

Tips to Motivate Myself the Artist as Business Owner:

1) Demonstrate that my customers and my products matter – Explain to myself my responsibilities as a business owner and artist. Understand how my work ethic, creativity, organization and punctuality contribute to my business’s success and my ability to meet deadlines and schedules.

2) Recognize good performance – Set a high production/quality standard for myself and then identify each of my efforts that exceeds my expectations or meets identified goals. Praise myself for a job well done. Discipline myself when my performance is not up to par.

3) Show confidence in myself and my work – Assign “stretch” goals that really challenge me to become a better artist by increasing the difficulty level for the next project. This will, also, build my confidence. Avoid the temptation to give up. Sometimes “muddling” through a task will motivate me to figure a problem out and then use real solutions.

As my first year as Kameli Shae and Ladyfingahs on Etsy comes to a close, I’ve begun to reflect and prepare for 2011. I must say that I came pretty darn close to meeting my goal of 50 sales for the year. That may sound like a small number to many, but when you have other responsibilities that are more important than a home-based business 50 sales can be a bunch. I need to add balance to the list. It can be really difficult at times trying to juggle all that my life entails. Through it all, I must say, I have a blast on this journey. It might be even more enjoyable if in the coming year, things get a little wilder... we'll see!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A few of My Favorite Things

1) Baking from Scratch - I took a break from my usual crafts to bake this bread from scratch. Everyone of us have an "un"hidden talent. Well, this is just one of mine...

This applesauce raisin nut bread was created using ingredients that were available in the kitchen that morning. In other words, I didn't fuss with going out to buy anything that wasn't on hand. I like to try to make do with my circumstances (a new lesson I've been trying lately.) I just kind of made my way through the cabinets and fridge to gather the items that went into my newly concocted recipe. A few of the items used were brown sugar, wheat flour, vanilla soy milk, raisins, apples that were peeled then boiled to the perfect consistency, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and vegetable oil, again just to name a few. The next time I bake this I will try to remember to write down the recipe and instructions so that I can post it here on the blog. My breads usually only last a day or two in my house. Best of all, I enjoy letting the "dos chicas" help prepare and mix the ingredients. Baking time often turns into lesson time as we get to review colors, counting, opposites, sight words, alphabets, spelling and so much more...

How will You Shop this Holiday Season?

This was once available as a poll on this blog. Although the poll has been removed I still ponder this issue. I'm curious as to whether you've considered joining the handmade revolution or would you still rather run to Stuff-Mart the night before your chosen holiday to retrieve whatever remains on the shelves. Did you know that crafters have been preparing for this holiday season since mid-year; just like the major retailers? Have you considered supporting crafters who spend countless hours designing,constructing, selling, packaging, etc. their wares themselves. If you're not willing to support independent shop owners or local businesses (not chain stores) this year, consider adding it to your list of resolutions for 2011...

For those of you that are interested, I ask which will it be:

a) indie shops - buying handmade only
b) combo - indie shops and major retailers
c) not buying at all; making every item myself
d) not making anything myself; buying every item
e) not giving gifts at all this year